I get asked a lot about the tackle and techniques I've used throughout the country for the fish I've caught. While I'm not going to print any of the guides' secrets all over the internet, I am happy to share what I use for fishing on my own.
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The vast majority of my fishing is with a spinning rod. It's what I grew up fishing with and what I still love to use. Two of my favorite rods are:
I use 8-pound test or lighter for freshwater. Sometimes for catfish I will go heavier, but it's rare. Recently I've started using more 2- and 4-pound test, which make even an average sunfish feel like a monster.
In terms of lures, I am all about soft plastics. I'll use bigger worms, tubes, crawfish, or lizards for bass and smaller swim baits for crappie and sunfish. My go-to colors are motor oil and green pumpkin. I've even had luck with white or sparkly curly-tailed grubs on a jighead for trout. (My Virginia citation brook trout came off of that rig.)
Most of my spin fishing trout have come from Phoebes or other small hard-bodied lures. I love vertical jigging, and for that I'll use those soft plastics or a small spoon.
I picked up a fly rod for the first time a few months after completing North Carolina, my 49th state, in July 2014. I have tried to fly fish at least a couple times a year every year since then, but I am still not great at it.
With that caveat, I generally use a 5 weight rod and 4x or 5x tippet. I've had luck mostly with streamers and nymphs.
Anyone who has ever played a sport knows that practicing with or studying someone who is better than you helps your game immensely. Fishing is no different. The best advice I can give to anyone trying to improve is to fish with someone who is better, or at least read about their techniques or watch their videos online. While most anglers hate being asked where they caught their fish, many will share how they caught their fish, and that's more important anyway because no fish lives in the same place forever.
As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions you have!